Information to think about concerning the Washington State Assessment of Student Learning or WSAL.

Essay by yankee842A+, May 2004

download word file, 3 pages 5.0


Students across the state are failing the Washington State Assessment of Student Learning or WASL. It is an epidemic that has yet to be cured. The WASL was created in 1993 to improve Washington's statistics on SATs and other like tests. I was unable to find out if this has happened. The WASL was designed to determine if Washington students were meeting the rigorous standards set in reading, writing, mathematics and other core subjects. It is given to 4th, 7th, and 10th graders. Unlike traditional tests a student's score is not meant to be compared to that of other students but identify that student's strengths and weaknesses.

Last year less than 35 percent of fourth graders passed all four portions of the WASL while not even 28 percent of seventh graders did the same. Only a little over 33 percent passed all portions of the WASL in tenth grade.

On a section-by-section basis only Writing is showing constant improvement. This is alarming. Starting in 2008 in order to graduate one must pass all sections of the tenth grade WASL. If this had been implemented last year 2/3 of seniors would not have received a diploma. I hope this opens the eyes of parents and educators.

Does such performance prove that our state's teachers are not teaching our students what they need to know or is there something structurally wrong with the test? If a person cannot read the test is read to them so that they can participate. Doesn't this put them at a disadvantage of passing the test in the first place? If a student is bilingual and does not understand English fluently the test will be translated. Perhaps it is not the stipulations of administering the test that is the problem but the standards set. States...